Posts Tagged ‘ combined sales ’

Telenet starts with combined sales offer

Although combined sales are allowed for a few months now, there aren’t that many offers on the market yet.  Telenet is one of the first large telecom players starting a combined offer.  When ordering a “Walk & Talk 20” subscription at 20 Euro a month, you can choose a mobile phone at 1 Euro.  Among the mobile phones available with the offer, are the Samsung Star, LG Viewty, Sony Ericsson Naite and Nokia 3720.

If other providers are following, we could finally be on our way to a necessary renewal of the Belgian mobile phone park, which has been lagging behind in Europe.

telenet-combined-sales

The Phone House and HotGSM.be start with combined sales

In April, I reported about the decision of Europe that the Belgian ban on combined sales was not conform the European legislation.  Even though the Belgian law has not yet been adapted to officially allow combined sales, the first offerings can now be found on the market.

In a press release, the online store HotGSM.be claims to be the first to offer a free mobile phone for everyone who signs for a new mobile subscription.  The Phone House promotes a mini-PC, for which the reduction depends on the amount of additional services that are bought with it, such as insurance, internet subscription or Belgacom TV.

hotgsm-koppelverkoop

Proximus announces Google Phone at 449 Euro early June

As said yesterday, Proximus announced the new Google Phone during a press conference this morning. The HTC Magic, based on the Android platform, will be exclusively distributed by Proximus, starting early June. An exact launch date was not specified.

The price may disappoint: it’s offered at 449,00 Euro. Cheaper than the iPhone, offered at Mobistar, but still not exactly ‘cheap’. Many people it would have been offered at very low price, combined with a Proximus subscription. After all, the ban on combined sales has been virtually lifted, so they could’ve offered the first smartphone-mobile subscription package of the country. But no, seems that is too risky for Proximus.

So whether this new smartphone will break any popularity records, depends if Android can convince the consumer. The first Google Phone, the T-Mobile G1, wasn’t released in Belgium, so it’s up to the HTC Magic to test this out. It offers access to the Android Market, virtual store for lots of mobile applications, which will be competing to the highly popular Apple App Store.  
Of course there are all the Google applications making this mobile device more interesting, access to Gmail, Google Maps, Google Talk, Youtube, Picasa,…

However, first reviews complain about the poor quality of the 3,2 megapixel camera and the media player, which produces a rather flat sound. 

So, do you plan to buy this smartphone? Let me know!

htc-magic-smartphone

Belgian ban on combined sales judged illegal by Europe

Might Belgium finally be getting rid of the ban on combined sales?
The European Court has judged this ban is not conform the European legislation and should be lifted.

As we’ve argued many times before, allowing combined sales would open up a lot of marketing opportunities.

The ban that exists in Belgium has come under pressure recently after the expensive introduction of the Apple iPhone.  The popular mobile device costs 525,- Euro in a Mobistar store, while in other countries it’s offered for a few euros or even for free if combined with a mobile subscription.  In Belgium this combination is not possible.

However, there were several examples of promo offerings that existed in a grey zone.  Just think of Cardoen, who recently offered a cheap car for free if you bought an expensive car. 
Total also had a campaign, offering free car trouble assistance if you bought a certain amount of petrol.  Organisation for automobile users VAB brought this campaign to European Court, argumenting it’s a form of combined sales.
Europe has now ruled that the campaign should be allowed, because the ban on combined sales is against European legislation.
This opens the door to Belgian legislation to abolish this ban, something that has not only been argued on this blog, but also by minister Vincent Van Quickenborne.  He has reacted positively after the decision of the Court and plans to ban the ban by law.

Combined sales for mobile phones? Yes please!

With the recent launch of the iPhone 3G, the discussion about combined sales of mobile phones and mobile subscriptions in Belgium has started again. According to an article in De Tijd on September 13th, the European Commission wants to have this ban on combined sales lifted.  As a service provider, we are a very much in favour of making such combined sales possible. This is an absolute necessity to stimulate the development of new multimedia services on mobile networks and to give this young and promising industry a chance to blossom.

Belgium has once again made the international news tribunes with less favorable news: we have the most expensive iPhones 3G in Europe in the shops of Mobistar. Benoit Scheen, CEO of Mobistar, excused himself for this at the launch of the iPhone 3G. He mentioned the lack of combined sales between mobile subscription and mobile device as principal reason for this high price tag. Minister Q, who is busy these days with the planning of the telecom policy, hurried to express his discontent on this ban as well. Even Test-Aankoop – who is generally against combined sales – explicitely spoke in favour of lifting the ban under certain conditions.

In other countries, for example The Netherlands, where combined sales are allowed, the iPhone is marketed at considerably lower prices. In certain packages, the iPhone is even offered at 1 euro. Without any doubt, such low price tags lower the access barriers for the purchase of new multimedia devices. This way, the mobile phone park is renewed much quicker. On average, most users also buy better quality devices.

We also see the combining of mobile devices to subscriptions erases another important barrier in the adoption of new services: the devices are all properly confiured at purchase. From my own experience: GSM with Orange subscription bought for 1 euro in the Fnac in Paris. 5 minutes after purchase: ready to use and surfing on Orange World. In Belgium, we can only dream of this.

Because of the ban on combined sales, the penetration and the use of new mobile internet services is a lot lower in Belgium than in countries who do allow this. In France for example, about 25% of all mobile subscribers between 15 and 50 years old uses the mobile internet every day. Because of the lack of combined sales Belgium risks to get seriously behind in this market. That is not only a bad thing for the mobile operators, who desperately need the revenues from data services to achieve their growth goals. It is also a missed chance to build up a local mobile multimedia industry, with the loss of employment as a result. The amount of companies active in this sector in Belgium can be counted on one single hand.

We are hereby calling on all policy makers, including minister Magnette who in De Morgen reacted rather negative on the initiative of the European Commission: lift the ban on combined sales and open the gate to a growing and florishing mobile multimedia activity in Belgium. We are convinced that in the end the consumer will get better from this as well, with better devices and more mobile services available.